Prep Baseball Report

Division 4 Team Of The Week: 5th Edition - Portland St. Patrick

Bruce Hefflinger
Michigan Senior Writer

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Division 4 Team Of The Week: 5th Edition - Portland St. Patrick

PORTLAND - “Small ball” is working out just fine for Portland St. Patrick, with three wins over state-ranked teams pushing the Shamrocks to 21-1 on the season entering this week.

A sweep of sixth-ranked Fowler, 2-1 and 4-1, along with a 3-0 blanking of 13th-rated Glen Lake also brings St. Patrick recognition as the Prep Baseball Division 4 Team of the Week.

“People call us a small-ball school,” noted head coach Bryan Scheurer. “That’s our style. We bunt, we steal bases.”

Small ball came up big in the recent 2-1 win over Fowler. Deadlocked at 1-1 entering the bottom of the seventh, the St. Patrick 7-8-9 hitters each put down a bunt to bring home the win. Junior Nathan Fears led off with a bunt single, senior Devin Cook followed with a sac bunt attempt that turned into a single before senior Riley Mosser laid a bunt down that scored the winning run when the throw went off the glove of the first baseman.

“It frustrates people, but we think it’s great,” Scheurer said of the style of play used in a program that won a state title in 2017 after finishing as runners-up a year prior.

Two wins over Morris on Monday moved the season win total to 23 for Scheurer’s 2024 squad, which has walked 128 times and reached base 71 times on a hit-by-pitch, 16 away from the all-time state record. In addition, the Shamrocks have stolen 169 bases on the season.

“We’re not going to hit it over the fence,” Scheurer explained. “We have a good approach, put it in play and run the bases well.”

Leadoff hitter Lucas Simon is 31-31 on the season stealing bases and two-hole batter Jerryd Scheurer is 27-28 for a team that has been thrown out just nine times to date. In contrast, opponents are only 16-37 on steal attempts.

Sophomore catcher Charlie Thelen is not only getting it done with his arm behind the plate, but is batting .422, second behind Scheurer’s team-best .580 average. Simon, “the one senior who consistently starts” according to the head coach, is producing at a .418 clip.

Pitching has also been a key component, with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 146/42 at the present. Brady Leonard threw a three-hitter with 10 strikeouts in the 2-1 victory over Fowler and Scheurer allowed just one hit and no runs with five strikeouts in five innings on the mound in the 4-1 win. Leonard came back with a second three-hit performance of the week to beat Glen Lake on Saturday.

For the season, Leonard is 6-1 with a 1.27 ERA and 0.788 WHIP, striking out 50 and walking 10 in 33 innings for the second-rated team in the state in D-4, up six spots from a week ago.

“We’re missing our number one starter,” Scheurer related in reference to Brayden Simon, the 59th-rated 2025 right-handed pitcher in the state who is currently on a pitch count. “He’s only thrown a handful of times. If he’s healthy, he puts us over the top. Right now we’re doing it with a sophomore (Leonard) and a freshman (Scheurer).”

The 20th-year head coach of St. Patrick pointed to “our youth” as the biggest surprise when it comes to success thus far, but understands the task at hand with the regular season nearing an end.

Sacred Heart, the third-rated team in the state in Division 4, is a weekend opponent with Fowler the opposition in the district semifinals later this month. Before that, Scheurer is hoping his Shamrocks have the opportunity to play in the Diamond Classic which begins on Monday. The team selections are today.

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